Friday, March 30, 2007
Know this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.
Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like. But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres,and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in all he does.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, his religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows n their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world. [2 James 1:19-27]
Love For One Another
For this is the message you heard from the beginning: we should love one another, unlike Cain who belonged to the evil one and slaughtered his brother. Why did he slaughter him? Because his own works were evil, and those of his brother righteous. Do not be amazed [then,] brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. Whoever does not love remains in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love was that He [Jesus] laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. [1 John 3:11-18]
Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves,for you also are in the body. [Hebrews 13:1-3]
If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything that I own, and hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude,it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain these three; but the greatest of these is love. [1 Corinthians 13:1-10 and 12-13]
Finally, all of you be of one mind, sympathetic, loving toward one another, compassionate, humble. Do not return evil for evil, or insult for insult; but, on the contrary, a blessing, because to this you were called that you might inherit a blessing. For:
"Whoever would love life and see good days must keep the tongue from evil and the lips from speaking deceit, must turn from evil and do good, seek peace and follow after it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears turned to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against evildoers."[1 Peter 3: 8-12]
Entry for: Day 26
God's Love and Christian Life
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us. This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his Spirit.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us [by the gift of his only Son, Jesus Christ].God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says "I love God," but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. [1 John 4:7-13, 16-21]
Inheritance through the Spirit
In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God's possession, to the praise of his glory. [Ephesians 1:11-14]
One in Christ
Therefore, remember that at one time you, Gentiles in the flesh ... were at that time without Christ, alienated from the community, strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in the place of two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.[Ephesians 2:11-22]
Unity of the Body
I then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. [Ephesians 4: 1-6]
[The encouraging words of Paul to Timothy regarding his call to witness for God apply to each of us, brothers one and all, even today:]
"He saved us and called us to holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began...". [2 Timothy 1:9]
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture [the Bible] that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather from human beings [who] moved by the Holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God. [2 Peter 1:20-21]
We [the disciples] did not follow cleverly deceived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that unique declaration came to him from the Majestic Glory, "This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while were with him [Jesus] on the holy mountain. [ 2 Peter 1:16-19]
False Teachers Denounced
Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to revile glorious beings, whereas angels, despite their superior strength and power, do not bring a reviling judgment against them from the Lord. But these people, like irrational animals born by nature for capture and destruction, revile things that they do not understand, and in their destruction they will also be destroyed, suffering wrong as payment for wrong doing. [2 Peter 2:11-13]
Warning Against False Doctrine
I repeat the request I made of you when I was on my way to Macedonia, that you stay in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to teach false doctrines or to concern themselves with myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the plan of God that is to be received by faith. The aim of this instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. Some people have deviated from these and turned to meaningless talk, wanting to be teachers of the of the law, but without understanding neither what they are saying nor what they assert with such assurance. [1 Timothy 1:3-7]
Testing the Spirits
Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world. You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them. We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us [scriptures (of the Bible)], while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit. [1 John 4:1-6]
Warning Against Useless Disputes
Remind people of these things and charge them before God to stop disputing about words. This serves no useful purpose since it harms those who listen. Be eager to present yourself as acceptable to God, a workman who causes no disgrace, imparting the word of truth without deviation.
Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands, bearing this inscription "The Lord knows who are his"; and"Let everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord avoid evil."
So turn from youthful desires and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord with purity of heart. Avoid foolish and ignorant debates, for you know that they breed quarrels. A slave of the Lord should not quarrel, but should be gentle with everyone, able to teach, tolerant, correcting opponents with kindness. It may be that God will grant them [Bible study note:teachers of false doctrine] repentance that leads to knowledge of the truth, and that they may return to their senses out of the devil's snare where they are entrapped by him, for his will. [2 Timothy 2:14-14, 19 & 23-26]
Confession and Intercession
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful. Elijah was a human being like us; yet he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and for three hundred years and six months it did not rain upon the land. Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the earth produced its fruit.
Conversion of Sinners
My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. [James 5:16-20]
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Endure your trials as "discipline"; God treats you as sons. For what "son" is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are without discipline, in which all have shared, you are not sons but bastards. Besides this, we have had our earthly fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not [then] submit all the more to the Father of spirits and live? They disciplined us for a short time as seemed right to them, but he does so for our benefit, in order that we may share his holiness.
At the time, discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it. So strengthen you drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet ... Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord. [Hebrews: 12 7-13]
God Bless All. Amen.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Things have been busy and hectic here. Such is life for all at times. Anyway, as I prayed this evening/early morning: I asked the Holy Spirit to guide me in my prayer -- as I was physically and mentally tired. I said a few words of prayer and then allowed my Bible to open to the page that it would -- at random ... led by the Holy Spirit.
These are the words that I found and I feel as if these words are words of encouragement, meant for those in a country with much need and need for encouragement at this time (Iraq):
"And take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord, and work! For I am with you, says the Lord of hosts. This is the pact that I made with you when you came out of Egypt, And my spirit continues in your midst; do not fear!
For thus says the Lord of hosts: One moment yet, a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth,the sea and the dry land. I will shake the nations, and the treasure of all the nations will come in, And I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts.
Mine is the silver and mine the gold, says the Lord of hosts. Greater will be the future glory of this house than the former, says the Lord of hosts; And in this place I will give peace, says the Lord of hosts." [Haggai 2:4-9]
The Lords Peace Be With Each and Every One of You. Amen.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Jesus speaks to a Samaritan Woman [John 4:21-24]
"Believe me, woman an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. Your people worship what you do not understand, while we understand what we worship; after all, salvation is from the Jews. Yet an hour is coming, and is already here, when authentic worshipers will worship the Father is Spirit and truth. Indeed, it is just such worshipers the Father seeks. God is Spirit and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth."
Jesus Prayer For All Believers (before he is arrested) [John 17:20-26]
"I do not pray for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their word, that all may be one as you, Father are in me, and I in you; I pray that they may be [one] in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me that they may be one, as we are one -- I living in them, you living in me -- that their unity may be complete. So shall the world know that you sent me, and that you loved them as you loved me.
Father, all those you gave me I would have in my company where I am, to see this glory of mine which is your gift to me, because of the love you bore me before the world began. Just Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you; and these men have known that you sent me. To them I have revealed your name, and I will continue to reveal it so that your love for me may live in them, and I may live in them."
Please continue your prayer efforts. I do feel that we are making an impact. God Bless you and yours!
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
In light of a news story this morning saying that children were left in a car as a diversion before a car bomb exploded in that car: I will pray more earnestly for protection of the innocent against these sorts of violence. I had been praying for the safety of pilgrims making their religious pilgrimages and for a cessation of violence against them.
Keep praying! God Bless!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I now see the Bible as a rich tapestry of history, interwoven with a message that is as applicable today as it was in the times that it was originally written. And I feel a sense of some of the personalities and lives of the authors -- albeit inspired by God as they were -- behind the writings in the Bible.
I feel especially inspired by Paul and his letters to the Romans, Corinthians and Galatians. Paul's primary message: that we are all children of the same God, even if the details of our daily lives and particular ways of worship may differ slightly, is especially relevant today, in an age of so many diverse religions, dogmas, traditions and beliefs. There seems to be so much emphasis on our differences that we fail to realize a key point: that we all worship the same God; we just worship in slightly different ways. And those 'slightly different ways' are preferences of man, not God.
As a brilliant man once said,"God is in the details" [Albert Einstein]. So why not let us leave the details to God and stop wasting precious energy focusing on our differences. We accomplish very little that way. But on the other hand, just think what we could accomplish together! Lifting our voices in prayer, praise and petition to God our Heavenly Father.
The study text in my Bible says this at the introduction of the 'Epistle of Paul to the Romans':"The implication of Paul's exposition of justification by faith rather than by the law is that the divine plan of salvation works itself out on a broad theological plane to include the whole of humanity despite the differences in the content of the given religious system to which a human culture is heir."
And I couldn't agree more! Hence this prayer campaign.
I would like to close today's entry with the following text from the 'Epistle of Paul to the Romans':
Triumph of God's Mercy
Just as you were once disobedient to God and now have received mercy through their disobedience, so they have become disobedient -- since God wished to show you mercy -- that they too may receive mercy.
God has imprisoned all in disobedience that he might have mercy on all.
How deep are the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How inscrutable his judgements, how unsearchable his ways! For, who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has given him anything so as to deserve return? For from him and through him and for him all things are.To him be glory forever. Amen.[Romans 11:30-36]
Sacrifice of Body and Mind
AND NOW BROTHERS, I BEG YOU through the mercy of God to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may judge what is God's will, what is good, pleasing and perfect.[Romans 12:1-2]
May the Lord continue to Bless,Guide, and Inspire us, one and all, through the grace and gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
P.S. In watching news reports of late, I feel the need to emphasize prayer petitions for the basic physical needs of those living without (i.e., food, water, shelter, sanitation, electricity, medical care, and safety in their own homes and neighborhoods) -- and not just spiritual needs. Thank you once again for your prayers!
Monday, March 19, 2007
The following Bible passages come to us from Paul's letters to the Romans:
Sons of God Through Adoption
All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. You did not receive a spirit of slavery leading you back into fear, but a spirit of adoption through which we cry out, "Abba!" (that is Father).The Spirit himself gives witness with our spirit that we are children of God. But if we are children of God, we are heirs as well: heirs of God, heirs of with Christ, if only we suffer with him so as to be glorified with him. [Romans 8:14-17]
The Spirit too helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groaning that cannot be expressed in speech. He who searches hearts knows what the Spirit means, for the Spirit intercedes for the saints as God himself wills.[Romans 8:26-27]
Gods Love for Man
We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who have been called according to his decree. Those whom he foreknew he predestined to share the image of his Son, that the Son might be the first-born of many brothers. Those he predestined, he likewise called; those he called he also justified; and those he justified he in turn glorified.
What shall we say after that? If God is for us, who can be against us? Is it possible that he who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for the sake of us all will not grant us all things besides?Who shall bring a charge against God's chosen ones? God who justifies? Who shall condemn them? Christ Jesus, who died or rather was raised up, who is at the right hand of God and who intercedes for us?
Indomitable Love for Christ
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Trial, or distress, or persecution, or hunger or nakedness,or danger, or the sword? As Scripture says: "For your sake we are being slain all the day long; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered." Yet in all this we are more than conquerors because of him who loved us. For I am certain that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor powers, neither height nor depth nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus, our Lord. [Romans 8:28-39]
I apologize for not being able to write on Saturday. I did, however, pray. I will not be writing on any Sundays. And there are days where I will group entries into multiple days. Once again,I sincerely thank you for your continued prayers on behalf of this prayer campaign. God Bless each and every one of you. Have a wonderful day!
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
In him we were chosen; for in the decree of God, who administers everything according to his will and counsel, we were predestined to praise his glory by being the first to hope in Christ. In him you too were chosen; when you heard the glad tidings of salvation, the word of truth, and believed in it, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit who had been promised. He is the pledge of our inheritance, the first payment against the full redemption of a people God has made his own, to praise his glory. [Ephesians 1:11-14]
Let us, then, be children no longer, tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine that originates in human trickery and skill in proposing error. Rather, let us profess the truth in love and grow to the full maturity of Christ the head. Through him the whole body grows, and with the proper functioning of the members joined firmly together by each supporting ligament, builds itself up in love. [Ephesians 4:14-16]
At every opportunity pray in the Spirit, using prayers and petitions of every sort. Pray constantly and attentively for all in the holy company. [Ephesians 6:18]
God Bless You One and All! Thank You for your continued prayers. Have a Spirit filled day.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
In chapter 11:5-10, Peter says "I was at prayer in the city of Joppa when, in a trance, I saw a vision. An object like a big canvas came down; it was lowered down to me from the sky by its four corners. As I stared at it, I could make out four-legged creatures of the earth, wild beasts and reptiles, and birds of the sky. I listened as a voice said to me, 'Get up , Peter! Slaughter, then eat.' I replied: 'Not for a moment, sir! Nothing unclean or impure has ever entered my mouth! A second time the voice from the heaven spoke out: 'What God has purified you are not to call unclean.' This happened three times; then the canvas with everything in it was drawn up again into the sky."
Now at this time there was a wealthy Gentile, named Cornelius. He was a centurion of the Roman cohort Italica. He was a religious and God-fearing man, but he was a Gentile. He had a habit of giving generously to the people and he constantly prayed to God. One afternoon, Cornelius had a vision in which he very clearly saw messenger, robed in light, coming toward him. The messenger addressed Cornelius and said: "Your prayers and your generosity have risen in God's sight, and because of them he has remembered you. Send some men to Joppa and summon a certain Simon, known as Peter." [Acts 10:1-8] So Cornelius immediately summoned two of his servants and sent them to find and summon Peter.
Conrelius's servants entered to find Peter just as his vision had ended. As the spirit in Peter's vision had instructed him to follow the servants that would come without hesitation, Peter and six of his brother's went with the servants to Cornelius' house in Caesarea. The next day they arrived in Caesarea.
Cornelius who was expecting Peter's party had invited his family and several close friends over to attend the gathering. Upon entering, Peter addresses the assembly as follows: "You know must know that it is not proper for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or have dealings with him. But God has made it clear to me that no one should call any man unclean or impure." Peter then asks why Cornelius has summoned him. Cornelius relays his vision and reason for summoning Peter. Peter then begins to address the crowd about Jesus of Nazareth's life, death, resurrection, and appearance after his death to the prophets to call them to bear witness to his name and spread his message of hope, redemption and salvation.
[Acts 10:44-48]: "Peter had not finished his words of address, when the Holy Spirit descended upon all who were listening to Peter's message. The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were surprised that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, whom they could hear speaking in tongues and glorifying God. Peter put the question at that point: 'What can stop these people who have received the Holy Spirit, even as we have, from being baptized with water? So he gave orders that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.' After this was done, they asked him to stay for a few more days."
In subsequent discussions with the assembly Peter says "As I began to address them the Holy Spirit came upon them, just as it had upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: 'John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' If God was giving them the same gift he gave us when we first believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to interfere with him?" When Peter's brothers heard these words they stopped objecting, and instead began to glorify God in these words: "If this be so, then God has granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles." [Acts 11:15-18]
Thus, I strongly feel that what we ask for in this prayer campaign is not beyond reason. If it is the will of God, it can be done now as it has been done before.
Let us pray,
"Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful people and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your spirit and they shall be created. And you will renew the face of the earth."
Monday, March 12, 2007
On one occasion Jesus spoke thus: "Father, Lord of heaven and earth, to you I offer praise; for what you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest children. Father it is true. You have graciously willed it so."
Words of wisdom from my 5-year old ... "Everyone has Jesus in their hearts Mommy. Some people just don't know it though." E.J.
"If you want to avoid judgement, stop passing judgement. Your verdict on others will be the verdict passed on you. The measure with which you measure will be used to measure you. Why look at the speck in your brother's eye when you miss the plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take that speck out of your eye,' while all the time the plank remains in your own? You hypocrite! Remove the plank from your own eye first; then you will see clearly to take the speck from your brother's eye. "
The Power of Prayer
Jesus said, "Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you. For the one who asks receives. The one who seeks, finds. The one who knocks, enters. Would one of you hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf, or a poisonous snake when he asks for a fish? If you, with all of your sins, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to anyone who asks him!"
[Jesus said to the Pharisees] "That, I assure you, is why every sin, every blasphemey, will be forgiven men, but those who blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever says anything against the Son of Man will be forgiven. Whoever says anything against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come."
[Bible text footnote: 12,31f:"The pharisees are said to attribute Jesus' exorcisms to satanic powers and thus to deny the unique presence of God in Jesus. They thereby assign his entire work and teaching to an evil principle, making it anti-God. This is the 'blasphemy against the Spirit' that will not be forgiven, because it negates the evidence of God's saving action in history. However, misunderstandings of Jesus' teaching and misconceptions of his Person due to human error or predjudice will be forgiven (Acts 9, 4f; 1 Tm 1, 13)."]
God Bless All! Keep praying!
Saturday, March 10, 2007
We are still praying. My 5 year-old crawled into be with me last night and wanted to pray with me. So we prayed together.
Haven't had much time to watch news these last few busy days. Anything new?
God Bless! Have a great weekend. I will make an entry on Monday again.
Friday, March 9, 2007
Some have asked: why this particular prayer issue? Well ...
1) It is a prayer issue that I don't feel that most, if any, people of prayer are addressing. It is just not in the mainstream thought.
I mean I had been praying and praying for months and a year++, and it wasn't until I asked God -- in my prayer -- what am I not doing in my prayer? What more, or what else can I do? Then, God gave me this answer of prayer.
2) I feel as if God wants me -- and others -- to pray for this. It is an area where change is not likely to come about on its own ... an area where it would take a miracle for change to occur ... and isn't that where prayer comes in? Where God comes in?
3) If change does -- and I have faith that it will -- occur here, as a result of prayer, it may make more people believe in God and in the power of prayer itself.
In closing, take a moment out of your busy day and pray! We all have busy lives and many things to do. It's easy to think, "Well, let someone else worry about prayer: I don't have time." But if you don't, truly, who will?
Sometimes in life, you have to step up the plate and go to bat for what you believe in instead of waiting for others to do it for you. Too many of us just go through the motions of being a good Christian, or follower of God. We attend church on Sundays, and sometimes Wednesdays. We follow all of the traditions and rites of our particular religious affiliation, etc.: isn't that enough?
But you have to ask yourself: "How is my relationship with God? Do I even really have one? Do I talk to God, do I pray to to Him? Not just Ask Him for what I need, but Praise Him for the good in my life? Yield to His will for my life -- or even listen to His will? "
Maybe as we pray, we should be asking for God to come more fully into our lives and show us the ways that we can truly be better stewards of His Love, Grace and Wisdom here on Earth.
Let us pray ( a prayer from my Sunday Missal, for Petecost Sunday):
"Let us pray [in the Spririt who dwells within us] Father of light, from whom every good gift comes, send your Spirit into our lives with the power of a mighty wind, and by the flame of your wisdom open the horizons of our minds.
Loose our tounges to sing your praise in words beyond the power of speech, for without your Spirit man could never raise his voice in words of PEACE or announce the truth that Jesus is Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
God Bless! Have a great day and keep praying!
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Many people have confided in me that they don't pray very often because they do not really know how, or they just don't feel comfortable with prayer. I am no expert, but I would like to share my philosophy on prayer with you today.
I know many people are frightened by the concept of prayer. Prayer seems so foreign and formal. It doesn't have to be though.
There are many formal and written prayers that we can read and use in various situations. Written prayers help us to get the conversation going, but you don't have to use these prayers exclusively. Nor do you have to be some guru capable of profound thought and verbage. You don't have to pray for long periods of time either.
Prayer can be as simple as a "conversation" with God. It does help, however, to find a semi-quiet moment so that you can truly focus on the conversation, open your heart and mind, and "listen." Otherwise,the conversation may be a bit one-sided. The more you pray, the easier prayer will become and the better you will become at listening.
This is what I taught my Children (based on an issue of "Clubhouse JR.," from Focus on the Family,last March I believe?):
P for Praise -- Worship God for who He is and give thanks for all He has done. Pslam 135:1-3
R for Repent -- Admit to God what you have done wrong and ask for forgiveness. Acts 3:19
A for Ask -- Tell God your needs and pray for the needs of others. Matthew 7:7-8
Y for Yield -- Let God know that you will trust Him and obey His commands. James 4:7-8
Prayer can be any combination of the above.
For me prayer is just an intergral part of my day. For example, I saw a man at Home Depot this afternoon, while waiting in the checkout line. He looked like he was in was 60's -- but that's not really relevant. He stood slightly stooped, as if his back was in pain, and he was moving very slowly. He looked as if he was in a lot of pain -- maybe due to arthritis. Without thinking, I thought: "God please Bless this man. Ease his pain, losen his joints, and heal him so that he can do the things he needs and wants to do free of pain." And that was a prayer.
Sometimes, we may not feel worthy of prayer. At those times, we probably need to "Ask": that is search our hearts for things that we may have done, thought, or said that make us feel less than worthy of God's love, attention and time. Then ask for His forgiveness and His grace to refrain from doing those things again.
Another thing that can get in the way of prayer is intellect. It's just hard for people who think a lot to slow down, focus, and pray. It's just "not logical" to them. I consider myself a very smart person and I pray, but I know a lot of smart people who just don't feel comfortable with the whole concept of prayer. For those smart people who feel uncomfortable with the concept of prayer, I would start by asking for God's help and grace to open their hearts and minds to His voice. Maybe use some words like the following:
"Dear God. Here I am. The concept of prayers is new and foreign to me. Help me sit quietly for a few moments and allow the Holy Spirit to awaken in me (if you have been baptized) -- or send the Holy Spirit down* upon me -- that I may feel the peace of Your presence and learn how to speak with You."
[*Jesus said to his disciples: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate to be with you always."
Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Those who do not love me do not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine butthat of the Father who sent me.
I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you." John 14:15-16, 23b-26]
And remember: Smart people usually try something before they pass judgement on it.
The bottom line is: don't be intimidated by prayer! You are worthy of God's time and attention,and you can make a difference in both your life, and the lives of others, through prayer. I promise!
Jesus said "My grace is enough for you, for in weakness my power reaches perfection."
2 Corinthians 12:9
So let us join our voices together and pray, for Jesus has said "Again I tell you, if two of you join your voices on earth to pray for anything whatever, it shall be granted you by my Father in heaven. Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst."
May God Bless Us One and All, but especially those are just beginning to embark on their prayer journey. Amen.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
I was watching ABC Nightly News yesterday evening (with Elizabeth Vargas), and I nearly – literally! – fell off of my chair when I heard good news coming from the mainstream media about the War in Iraq. I mean, I can't honestly recall the last time that I heard the mainstream media say anything good, or upbeat, about the War in Iraq. Can you?
This news clip was, SADLY, preceded by bad news that a warring faction had immersed 2 suicide bombers within a crowd of Shiite pilgrims making their way to Karbala for an upcoming holy day. The bombers managed to kill at least 100? Pilgrims – I believe the actual numbers, at this point, are still speculation and need to confirmed ... but may God Bless the souls of these innocent people and their loved ones left behind.
After the above story, the tone of the news update on Iraq turned (to me, surprisingly) upbeat, with Elizabeth Vargas saying that despite today’s suicide bombing that people (civilians), in general, felt that things were beginning to look better in Iraq.
The news story closed with a footnote about a military victory, and capturing of a key city -- by Western forces -- in the South, called Sadr. Former attempts to secure this city had failed as it was the strong hold of the anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadrand his guerilla forces. Western forces were quoted as saying that they took the city with relative ease and were surprised by the warm welcome that they received from the Iraqi people there.
Here is a link to the ABC News website, with a related news clip on this story:
The headline reads: "Despite Recent Suicide Bombs, Violence Appears Calmer in Baghdad."
Go check it out for yourself. Obviously, the "words-only" news clip is not as upbeat as the actual newscast was with its actual interviews of Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers. But to me: it was the sign I need to continue on with this campaign.
I’d call that an answer to prayers! I know that there is still much prayer that needs to be done, but I feel as if I am not out in left field, and that I’m on the right track with this prayer campaign. Praise God!
Thank you to all of you who have responded to me, via email, that you will pray with me. Thank you for sharing your ideas, concerns, and opinions as well. Your input is truly invaluable! I don’t know for sure how many people are praying with us, but it is at least 2: because we have seen that God is listening.
Someone left a comment asking why 2 months? Well, it seemed like an attainable goal. It may take longer. We’ll have to see where we are at in two months. They also asked if I would pray all day, everyday. Well, as much as I would love to be able to do that: I am but a humble mother of 3 demanding, and energetic, young school age children, and I work from home. I want to be present and engaged in my kids lives – and my husband’s too : ) -- so at this point in my life, I simply can’t do all day everyday. But I do pray often throughout the day, in quiet moments (i.e., on coffee breaks, while getting ready in the morning, sitting in the car waiting to pick up the kids at the end of their school day, etc.). I am also an insomniac, so I try to put the times that I can’t sleep to good use by praying.
In closing, let me say that I know that there are a lot of important issues out there in the world today (i.e., hunger in Africa and other parts of the world, ethnic cleansing in Africa, and cruel, and often violent, treatment and repression of women around the world ...to name a few). I am not saying that the issue of this Prayer Campaign is any more important than that of the other issues out there in the world today. But, I was called to address this particular issue, so that is what I am doing. I do still pray for people in need in other parts of the world, but right now my foremost attention is to this particular issue and this Prayer Campaign.
I also know that the War in Iraq has divided many Americans, but for the sake of this campaign: I would ask that we sincerely try to put politics aside and pray together for the greater good.
God Bless You One and All!
P.S. If you would like to leave a comment to let us know that you are praying with us, it would be greatly appreciated! (Note: I understand the need for privacy, and for that reason: I have allowed you to leave a message, comment or question, as "Anonymous" (meaning no identity). Just click the "Anonymous" button when the comment window pops up.) I am working on a creating a guestbook/petition for people to sign.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
I DID sleep last night. Praise God! Things are much clearer after a good nights sleep.
Here are some thoughts on prayer in general:
The wonderful thing about prayer is that you don't have to be famous, or have lots of money, or influence, in order to be heard. You personally -- each and everyone of you -- have a direct line to God. Most of you don't use it though?
God does not always answer our prayers in our time, and sometimes, He answers in ways that we do not understand, but He does hear us, He does listen, and He does care.
If you are not one who is accustomed to praying, or if you have doubts as to prayers effectiveness: why not give it a chance? What have you got to loose? I mean, you buy lottery tickets? Prayer is FREE and you have a better chance of winning.
One thing to remember when you pray: you need to be specific! Praying "God please make the world a better place" is a good sentiment, but you might get better results if you put in more specifics -- just like you would in a "Google Search."
I've had several people say to me in emails that they have, at moments, had doubt and wondered: Where was God when the mother in story (from Day 1) took the life of her own daughter?
Well, here is what I believe:
As for moments of doubt: we all have them! That is part of what makes us human.
Where is God during moments like the one in the story? ... Well, He was probably right there beside that young girl.
Unfortunately, God gives us freewill, and the Mother in the story used her freewill to take her daughter's life. Because God gave us freewill, sometimes innocent people are allowed to suffer. God won't force Himself upon us: we have to choose Him. God can only speak to and work through those who open their hearts up to Him. And that is what we are praying for in this Prayer Campaign.
Please pray with us today. Your voice does make a difference!
God Bless and Have a Truly Wonderful and Inspired Day!
A long-time friend of mine from high school sent me a reply to my request for prayer.
She expressed her support, but wanted to suggest that in addition to prayer, that we all try to educate ourselves about the Muslim culture and get to know Muslims in our own communities. I do think that is a truly wonderful idea. Here is my reply to her letter:
I agree about trying to educate ourselves about different cultures. I commend you for doing that by reading and getting to personally know Muslims in your community. I think that is just wonderful. The only problem is that educating ourselves ALONE won't change the bottom line: a fundamental difference in the way we, as Christians and Westerners, approach religion and value human life.
I agree that most of the Muslims, and people of Islamic faith, that we will meet in the United States, and other Western countries, probably will not have the views and beliefs that I cited in this website, day 1. Many of those people are now in the West because they do not believe the beliefs that are in the mainstream of Islam in their former homelands. Further, the Muslims living in the West are, for the most part, not the ones who are being recruited into jihad by extremist factions, and they are not the ones who truly believe that they are doing God's will by cursing the infidels (all those living in Western, modern, capitalist driven countries) and supporting efforts to kill and harm the latter.
Our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan may serve to show another, better and more truthful, side of the West -- a side that helps to protect the innocent, a side that helps to establish basic human needs ( i.e., electricity, sewage systems, and running clean water) --to Muslims in countries formerly run by murdering dictators and religious extremists. Hopefully our presence in these countries will aid in educating Muslims and people of Islamic faith about our beliefs. But change will not be drastic, nor will it come quickly -- as we have seen during our last 2+ years in Iraq -- because we are dealing with a thousand ++ years of established beliefs and the Islamic extremists know this.
In light of the above, I feel compelled by the Holy Spirit to do more. And this Prayer Campaign has been hard for me to do, because I am usually one who likes to fly below the radar and work behind the scenes. When I see a need, however, the Holy Spirit just won't let me let it be. I have this 6th sense of empathy, and I truly feel the pain of all involved (ie., the innocent children and civilians that are killed by bombs on the streets of Iraq almost daily, our fellow countrymen who were needlessly and most cruelly murdered on 9/11, journalist and civilian contractors who are captured, tortured, and often killed by extremist factions in the Middle East). And I would like to see our U.S. military men and women come home! I think that we are at a point now, where real change in our relations with those of Islamic faith needs to aided by a higher power: God.
The Lord knows that none of us are perfect! That's why we are here on this Earth. We are all given a chance to do God's work -- spread His message of Hope and Salvation -- and maybe just get "IT" a little bit right. Sure, we are bound to mess up from time to time, but the God I know is a loving God, slow to anger, quick to give mercy and forgiveness to those in need. So if even if you have never prayed before, or don't think you know how, or wonder about the effectiveness of prayer in general: here's your chance to get in there and do something that really matters! To have a true impact on the world around you, and to see firsthand the power of prayer, and of the God who made us one and all. We are all children of God, regardless of our individual religious beliefs and affiliations, or lack therof.
I feel as if we are at an impasse, and it is time that we let God aid us all in a path to peace and understanding. I truly believe that this prayer campaign may help us to that end.
We aren't going to get up in anyones face, or condemn anyone for their beliefs. We are simply going to pray and leave the rest up to God.
If you have some words for prayer that you think that others might be able to use to help them in their efforts to support this prayer campaign please leave a comment or send and email to:
God Bless Us One and All!
P.S. Please excuse any typos! It is late and I am tired 11:29 p.m. Maybe I will sleep tonight ...
Monday, March 5, 2007
(Note: there have been some refinements and edits since my original emailing. Please use this version in your emails and calls to others for prayer. Thank you!)
I truly believe in the power in the prayer!
I had trouble sleeping last night. My husband relayed a true story to me that he had heard on talk radio.
The story was about an Islamic family. In this family, one of the brothers raped his biological sister. The brother spent a mere day in jail. The daughter was told that she must have done something to encourage the brother and that she had brought shame on her family.
When it was discovered that the sister who had been raped was pregnant -- as a result of the attack -- the girl's mother went to her and told her that she must end her life. That was the only way to save the family honor -- supposedly. The girl responded that she did not want to die; she wanted to live. So that evening the mother went into the girl's room, while she slept, and suffocated her.
This story really troubled me. One has to wonder if this is the norm in Islamic culture? Is this truly what they believe? Based on things I've read, and heard on news & radio: it would seem that this is the way a very large majority of people of Islamic faith believe -- as with any religion there are, of course, more moderate and also extreme beliefs. But what many of us "Westerners" fail to understand is that this belief system goes back thousands of years, and it is deeply embedded in their culture.
It baffles me how a religion with a belief in a higher power can have such disrespect for human life? How can they allow the laws of men supercede the laws of God?
The sixth commandment, as given to Moses by God, says very clearly that “Though Shall Not Kill.” The tenth commandment says: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Would you have your neighbor kill you? The 10 Commandments, are part of the Old Testament of the Bible, and preceded Jesus. Therefore, I would think that they are not unique to Christian religions alone. Don’t the 10 Commandments apply in Islam?
The 10 Commandments aside: How can any religion believe that a God who created LIFE would take the loss of it so very lightly? Surely God has the power to punish to sinners. He does not need us to do it for Him. Further, it says in the Bible, on numerous occasions: "judge not lest you should be judged."
If a mother can take the life of her daughter, a life that she participated in creating, carried in her womb for nine months, and then cared for and raised for 13++ years, because of the man-made laws of Islam: then is there little hope for us “infidels?” How can we even begin to understand, let alone reason with that kind of obedience and mindset?
We in the U.S., and other parts of the world that profess to be Christians, are not completely blameless when it to comes to disrespecting life either, so I don’t want to throw stones. While we in the “West”, for the most part, do seem to care deeply for our families and those around us who are less fortunate: we still do take the lives of defenseless, unborn children. But, I digress …Anyway, I lay there last night, tossing and turning, and feeling a bit hopeless and wondering what I, personally, could do to help make a difference. And as I lay there, I began to pray to God for some insight.
As I prayed, it occurred to me then that I had been praying for:
1) Our President to make the right, and the hard, decisions with respect to the War in Iraq and the larger War on Terror.
2) For our soldiers in the Middle East and for their families left behind.
3) For the soldiers and civilians who had been killed or injured in Iraq, and for their loved ones.
But I had not prayed for the people of Islamic faith. This was God’s answer to my question: What can I do?
HIS Answer: Earnestly, and diligently, PRAY for a raining down of the HOLY SPIRIT upon all people of Islamic faith. That the HOLY SPIRIT may awaken in them.
That the HOLY SPIRIT may give them newfound insights, and also the strength & courage to question thousands of years of their cultural heritage.
That the HOLY SPIRIT will help those of the Islamic faith to see that many of laws of Islam – particularly those that allow for killing and violence – are the laws of men and not of God.
That they may find a willingness to open their hearts to the possibility that their is good in those of us of Western decent, who are not of the Islamic faith.
That they may come to see that WE ALL are children of God, and that ALL human life is precious and a gift from God.
I will pray also that God provides for the basic physical needs of those in need of such as well (i.e., food, shelter, water, electricity, sanitation, and safety in their own homes and neighborhoods).
So I am going to launch a Prayer Campaign: to Pray For All People of Islamic Faith. I would like to call this Prayer Campaign: “PEACE IF We Pray.”
P – Pray
E – Earnestly
A – for All
C – Children (God’s)
E – of Eastern
I – Islamic
F – Faith
I think our lack of progress in Iraq and the innocent children and civilians that are killed by bombs on the streets of Iraq almost daily have demonstrated that we can't obtain peace and understanding by using logic and reason alone, but with God's grace, maybe we can make a significant impact.
It says in the Bible that "wherever two or more are gathered in my name: there also am I (God)." So let us join together in prayer, as two or more, and lift up our voices for peace and understanding. Amen.
I would be most grateful to anyone who would pray with me. I, myself, will be praying daily for 2 months, but anything that you can do WILL HELP to make a difference.
Please click on the envelope below to send this link, and call to prayer, to your friends and family. And if you would like please leave me a comment (by clicking on the word “comment” or "pencil" icon ) to let myself --and others-- know that you are praying with us. That would be wonderful!
Let’s do this and see if WE can make a difference in this climate of confusion, fear, and violence. Let’s do this to have a better world and to leave a better world for our children and our children’s children. God Bless!
P.S. Please check back periodically for more information & updates and to submit your ideas and comments.
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